My favorite natural beauty treatment is sunshine and fresh air! Daily sun exposure can impart a healthy glow to the skin, prevent vitamin D deficiency, support hormonal functions, improve mood and energy levels, decrease depression symptoms, and even clear up skin disorders like acne, eczema, etc. Let's be honest, doesn't everyone look better with a sun-kissed glow? I sure think so! Did you know that only a generation ago, many mothers would even give their babies a "sun bath" daily? If the weather wouldn't permit them to place baby in the shade on the porch or under a tree, they would scoot the bassinet in front of a bright window during the daylight hours. I know that my grandmothers, and even my mother, were firm believers in daily exposure to fresh air and sunshine for good health. Housework was always done in the morning and early afternoon hours during the summer months so that the afternoons could be spent in the backyard on a big blanket, with magazines, lemonade, or iced tea and snacks. I'll admit that neither Mom nor Grandma ever slathered us with sunscreen...and we spent hours upon hours playing outside day after day. Now, I'm not trying to stir up a big debate here, but I am saying that children were a whole lot healthier back then than they are now. We are told now to limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m and 3 p.m. Are you kidding me? That is the prime of the day! What should they be doing then? Playing video games in the basement? Sorry if I am stepping on some toes here, but I'm not buying it. We live in the north and after months of cold weather and cloudy days, when the temps rise above 60 degrees and the sun comes out to play for the summer, you had better believe that we are heading outside! And for the record, the women in my family look incredible for their ages. If they damaged their skin from the years of sunbathing, you surely can't tell. My great-granmother will be 102 years old this year and she is still beautiful. Obviously, a form of sun bathing exists that isn't good for anyone. I do not advocate laying on reflecting blankets while slathering yourself in mineral oil for 5 hours a day. Please! And I also do not advocate the regular habit of artificially tanning yourself in a booth or bed. I'm talking about exposing yourself to good, old fashioned sunshine and fresh air!
I also want to point out that we have been blessed with the type of skin tone that naturally tans without burning in my family. If you have the type of skin that burns easily, then you will obviously need to take more precautions. I would suggest covering up with light weight cotton materials, natural fiber hats and the use of some natural sunscreen (without chemicals!). Look for products that contain PABA, titanium oxide, or zinc. Cocoa butter, shea butter, hemp seed oil, raspberry seed oil, and many other natural vegetable based oils and butters do offer natural sun protection, as well.
UV exposure is a real concern and air pollution has diminished the natural protective shield that the earth's ozone layer provides us, so I am not suggesting that you throw away your good judgement and burn yourself to a crisp, but it is my opinion that we need more sunlight in our lives, not less. Eating a diet rich in EPA fatty acids will also provide you with additional natural sun protection.